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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The Gecko: 08 April, 1994

The Gecko: 08 April, 1994

J ournalists have had to hit top gear to cover the fall of Pailin and some of the

stories behind the stories have been pretty racy.

Some enterprising RCAF

soldiers saw the press corps as walking dollar signs. On the trek from

Battambang, ill-equipped newsmen were offered the rental on a mosquito net and

hammock for $10 per night. A pack of Fine cigarettes normally retailing for

1,500 riel fetched $1, as did 20 cent packets of instant noodles. When a Post

reporter asked why the noodles were so expensive, the soldier replied: "We fight

and we do business at the same time."

One seasoned Western correspondent

stumbled into an overzealous and short-sighted soldier who managed to confuse

him for a Khmer Rouge guerrilla. He dived for cover in a roadside ditch and hid

behind his backpack from a hail of bullets. One slug ripped into the bag and the

only thing stopping it turning thehack into Swiss cheese was a tin of pate.

Meanwhile a border trip for Phnom Penh-based journalists organized by

the Thai government was intended to show how it was all just a conspiracy theory

that their military was aiding the KR. But there should have been red faces all

round at a briefing. On the map this fair land was labelled Democratic


An employee of one of Phnom Penh's leading hotels was left

speechless on payday. After receiving his hard-earned from a ground floor office

he trudged upstairs to a hotel shop to break a hundred dollar bill, only to have

the owner throw it back at him after a scanning machine check. The bill was a




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